Friday, October 24, 2014

Reading is Good for Your Health!

I haven't blogged in ages. I intentionally quit blogging for Beloved Books because I just had too much going on and it was a blessing if I had time to read a book, let alone review one. I've had health issues, debilitating issues that prevented me from reading at all. When I shared with my doctor that I wasn't reading anymore, she was very concerned. You see, for beloved bibliophiles, reading is good for our health!

Yes, dear readers, you now have reason to keep on reading. When your spouse starts cracking down on your book purchases, when your friends and family tease you or grumble because you always have your nose in a book, you just let them know that to not read is bad for your health! For avid readers, not reading leads to tension and stress, anxiety, depression, and a total loss of creativity. For beloved bookworms, to disappear in a world of words is the healing balm for the chaotic lives we live. It soothes our souls and clears our minds to focus more clearly on our daily responsibilities. And while there is no scientific research to prove it, I'm convinced that my return to reading has done wonders for my skills playing Word Chums.

So there you have it, your prescription for reading. Please note: This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Friday, January 10, 2014


One of my favorite websites is Goodreads. If you love reading, this is the best site to organize, catalogue, and rate books you've read (or want to read). You can join book clubs, add friends, and best of all, Goodreads recommends books to you!

A little bit of detail on how it works: Of course, you have to create a profile with login information. From there, you can create bookshelves to begin cataloguing your books. In the beginning, I only had a few shelves because I didn't know what I was doing, but I recommend you create shelves for all the genres you read (or want to read). You can even create shelves with phrases like "started to read but had to return to library" or "wouldn't recommend to anyone to save my life." I even have a "might read" shelf which is stupid because I have about a thousand books on my "to be read" shelf. As if I'll ever get to my "might read" shelf.

To add books, you simply type in the book's name, author, or ISBN and it'll list the book with the cover, summary, rating, reviews, publishing info and a ton of other information. It'll list how others have catalogued it or if it's on any book lists (I'll explain momentarily). If you have a smart phone, you can actually scan the bar code to add the book to your shelves. This made adding the books I have at home super easy to add to Goodreads. My only regret was that when I scanned the hundreds of books I own, I didn't catalogue them. I wish I would've been a little more thorough in adding them to specific shelves because sometimes I'm looking for books to recommend to someone by a genre and all the hundreds I added in the beginning aren't catalogued. Cataloguing is easy. You simply click the check box next to the shelf and it's added.

Recommendations are one of the best features of Goodreads. Love the recommendations! Recommendations are based off of the books on each shelf and are per shelf. So if I have a biographies shelf, Goodreads will recommend books according to the books I have on that shelf. This is a great way to discover new books and authors in your favorite genres. You can also search "listopia" (which is thousands of book lists) to find new books and authors. As an example, if I wanted to search books published in the 1920's, I can find a list of the best books published in the 1920's by searching for the phrase "1920's."

Another great feature for recommendations are the book clubs. You can join as many as you'd like and there are thousands on the site. I joined a few in the beginning, but it was too much so I'm only active in one book club now, one that I joined a few years ago. It's a small group of women from all over the world and we choose books collectively by suggestions and voting. We have online discussions about our books and other topics, including games, new members, and birthdays.

There is so much more to Goodreads, but I'll end with the giveaways. There are hundreds of ongoing book giveaways. Winners are chosen randomly and you can enter as many contests as you like. I've won a couple books off Goodreads in the last few years and it's a nice surprise because I often forget I've won until a book arrives in the mail!

Goodreads is a very comprehensive site so in order to get an idea of all the features, you'll just have to sign up for yourself. For book lovers, there's nothing better.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Part of The Caravan!!

This is a picture of author, Tracy Higley, in Ephesus as she recently toured ancient lands for more material to write about.  I'm part of her street team (Yeay!!!), aptly named 'The Caravan.'  That's howz come I'm special and gets my own personalized greeting from her.  :0)

I read Tracy's book Shadow of Colossus and loved it!  I know, I didn't write a review.  Shame on me, but I've been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia this year and haven't had much energy for blogging.  The good news is that I see a new rheumatologist in nineteen days (but so not counting...) and am hopeful that I can get on some decent meds to get me going again.  I was going to quit book review blogging, but have missed it.  Not sure I have any followers left, but we'll see.  :0)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Enemies of the Heart - Slow Start, Good Finish

Although it took a bit to get to the point, Andy Stanley is on point with this book. The negative thoughts and emotions we think are buried deep inside are really right on the surface controlling our lives.

Great for group study or personal study, Stanley's book takes you to the heart of these emotions using Scripture and his own experiences to lead you on a journey to a changed life. He teaches you how to confront the enemies of your heart, pointing out things I'm pretty sure we know, but haven't quite been ready to face.

If you aren't ready to really committ to changing your life, this book isn't for you. Stanley has a lot of thought-provoking questions for you, not just in the discussion section at the back if the book, but throughout the book. These questions are meant for you to see clearly how the four enemies (guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy) have kept you in bondage and have kept your relationships broken. From reading this book, you will see just how much you are responsible for the current situation of your life and what steps you can take to change your life for the better.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Favorite Book - Moloka'i

Moloka'iMoloka'i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was chosen by my book club and I’m so very glad it was.  I don’t know if I ever would’ve come across it otherwise and it quickly became one of my favorite books.

When I began reading, I was immediately pulled in because of Brennert’s writing style and because of the main character, Rachel.  Brennert has a rich way of weaving his words into a great attention-keeping story and I couldn’t put the book down.  As for Rachel, she's just sweet and adorable!  If I remember correctly, she was seven years old when the book began.  I really enjoyed how as a reader, I got to watch her grow up.  Throughout the novel, I was always rooting for Rachel’s escape from the island of Moloka'i.  Does she ever get away?  Well, I’d spoil the story if I told you so you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Hmmm… let me back up… if you aren’t familiar with Moloka’i, it’s a Hawaiian island that was used as a quarantine colony for those with Hansen’s disease (leprosy).  Rachel is exiled to Kalaupapa, the leprosy containment community on the island of Moloka’i and the book follows her journey.  Filled with a rich historical background, Rachel lives on Moloka’i through a period of great change.  From Hawaii being absorbed by the United States, the cure of Hansen’s Disease, the beginning of aviation and automobiles, the book is filled with actual historical facts that bring not just the characters, but the island itself to life.

Unlike most novels I read, I was quite fond of many of the characters.  Rachel, of course.   Then there is Sister Catherine, a nun who lived on the island and took care of the female children.  She was a woman with such strength and compassion, yet she was full of fears and doubts which endeared her to me.  She was such a real and down to earth character.  Haleola, also a Hansen’s patient, took a sort of mother-role over Rachel.  In a large way, she made up for Rachel being taken away from her mother and showed Rachel nothing less than pure love and devotion.  Even Rachel's papa who never left or forgot her.  A sailor on a steamer boat, he never stopped sending her things from the various countries he traveled to and visited her whenever he could.  Dr. Goodhue was another person I was fond of.  He was a really good doctor with a genuine care for the people of Moloka'i.  Even the Territorial Governor (a real person), Lawrence Judd, was someone I was fond of as he was true to his words to reform Kalaupapa.

Before reading this book, I had no knowledge of Moloka'i and the separate island community where people were exiled to.  It was such an ignorant way for the people with Hansen’s to be treated (pun may or may not be intended!).  Families were literally torn apart, the reputation of the family completely destroyed.  However, through the turmoil and loss, much was also gained.  The people living on the island welcomed newcomers and one another with open arms.  Instead of being sent there to await their deaths, together they triumphed, forming new families and new lives.

A very touching novel, this book let us into the lives of the people of Moloka'i and when it ended, I was sad.  It was like saying goodbye to good friends.  Highly, highly recommended.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Am Grad-Gee-Ated!!!

It has been a busy time for me since my last post.  I had my final finals and then graduation and friends' graduations and today is my first "day off" since then.  A day off for me is one that I'm not expected to be anywhere and one that I don't have errands to run.  It's my lazy day.

Even though I had my last semester to finish up (that included the dreaded chemistry class), I still managed to read a bunch of books.  Read, yes.  Write a review, No.  I'm hoping to get reviews written for the following books soon:

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.  Loved it.

The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham.  Loved it.

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman.  Enjoyed it.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  Enjoyed it.

Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope by Eleanor Herman.  Enjoyed it.

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert.  Loved, loved, loved it!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Enjoyed it.

Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think of them?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wild Side of Jesus

Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with AbandonUntamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon by Lisa Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through reading the book Untamed, I have become a fan of the author, Lisa Harper. Her humor is very refreshing and makes such an enjoyable read! I found myself relating to her in so many ways as my relationship with Jesus grew stronger.

In the first two pages of the book, Harper writes, "Choosing the safe but boring path is an apt metaphor for the years I spent rather numbly and halfheartedly pursuing God." This is definitely how I've become over the years (safe and boring) as I've tried to prevent chaos and pain from entering into my life. However, chaos and pain have still managed to wiggle their way into my life and my relationship with Jesus has been lukewarm. Harper invites you to "reawaken the sense of adventure God hard-wired into your soul" and Untamed surely does that!

Now, Harper has a very sharp sense of humor that some might find offensive or sacrilegious. She talks about paralytics who turn cartwheels, how Tamar's first husband and Onan were stinkers so God killed them, and she calls John the Baptist "Johnny B." I had reached a point that I thought, okay, this might be too much, but then changed my mind when two pages later I was laughing out loud at the vision of John the Baptist "with locust legs stuck between his teeth." Harper was talking about the type of people Jesus hung out with, and right after the locust legs comment, she writes a profound piece that makes your heart swell over the Jesus who loves us:
"But Jesus is the friend who lovingly sticks by every repentant sinner's side through thick and thin. Even when we blow it or get distracted by other interests, He doesn's stop loving us. In fact, Jesus' unwavering commitment to us is what ultimately compelled Him to lay down His life in exchange for ours. His devotion to broken people like us is remarkable."

Throughout the book, Harper shares her personal experiences (that I'm sure many of us can relate to) and connects them to biblical stories, illuminating the true Jesus that loves and accepts us all. The end of each chapter also has questions to help the reader dig deeper, not just within themselves but through God's Word.

I highly recommend this book and am grateful to have received it free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my review.

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